Brita Wants Americans to Ditch Water Bottles

Cyndi Loza
Managing Editor, Member Content, P2PI
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Americans are drinking more water than ever before with an estimated 10 million bottles of water consumed every hour. The surge is due in part to convenience-oriented Millennials' affinity for bottled water, which is great for health reasons but problematic for Clorox Co.'s water filtration brand Brita and the environment.

“Eighty percent of what we think is being recycled is actually ending up in landfills or in the ocean,” said Liz Tung, Clorox associate director, national shopper marketing/brand engagement lead, at a presentation at the Path to Purchase Summit on March 13. “And if we continue at that rate the projection is that by 2050 there’s going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish.”

Brita is now on a mission to transform the way Americans drink water and ensure it's innovating products that are as easy to use, if not easier, than bottled water. Driven by this challenge and consumer insights, the brand in March 2016 launched Brita Stream, which added a filter near the spout allowing users to fill the pitcher and pour filtered water immediately. Tung joined Sandy Oldaker, Clorox's Brita national account manager – Target, and Abbey Oslin, management supervisor, Target team, Catapult Marketing, to share insights from the product launch and how they were able to create a unique brand experience at Target that worked to educate shoppers on the product benefits and drive conversion in store.

Though they have an affinity for bottled water, most Millennials believe drinking water is key to health and wellness, which is important to leading a good life, Tung said. Armed with this insight, the brand knew the Brita Stream marketing plan had to target Millennials and find creative and disruptive ways to reach them. Brita also needed to identity times when Millennials would be most receptive to a message from the brand, find ways to drive trial through product experience, and, most importantly, deploy a smart retail strategy.

The result was an eye-catching endcap (via Rapid Displays) that utilized lights to convey water “pouring out” of a pitcher and communicated the product’s benefits in four words: “Fills Quickly. Pours Immediately.” In-aisle glorifiers also served to tout the product and National Basketball Association player and Brita spokesperson Stephen Curry was depicted on Brita Stream packaging to help connote “fast” water filtration.

Oldaker noted the product did not launch exclusively nor early at Target, as the retailer often times wants its partners to do. Instead, “we offered national differentiation and that is if we work together and come up with a seamless plan it will out execute the market and you will drive the market share,” Oldaker said. “Ultimately, they got excited because we had breakthrough product experience that they knew was different from things they've seen in the past.”

Brita also teamed with VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) to put the Stream pitchers in the kitchens of rental units and targeted events like Coachella and Stagecoach Festival. "We knew that driving trial and demoing the product was going to be extremely important for our plan,” Oslin said. “However, a grocery store demo is probably not going to reach her. We wanted to ... go in to her life and her experiences and introduce the brand in that way."

The marketing plan also included leveraging social influencers for ratings and reviews to have content ready as soon as Brita Stream hit the market, as well as a comedic music video (produced by Portal A, San Francisco) featuring Canadian actor, comedian, and internet personality King Bach and Curry.